The most multicultural city in the world is just as vibrant every year.
Population: 5,2 million
Visitors per year: 21 million
Languages: English, French
Unit of currency: Canadian dollar (C$)
Cost index: hotel per night C$70-450 (US$63-407), TTC (subway) ride C$3 (US$2.70), CN Tower admission C$32 (US$29), Toronto Island ferry C$7 (US$6.30)
Why go ASAP?
Ubiquitous condo towers, aging megahighways and the lack of a unifying architectural theme aren’t likely to seduce you, but the character and flavour of Toronto’s neighbourhoods just might. Expect this year to be another massive year for Toronto’s drool-worthy restaurant scene. If nightlife is your bag, you’ll love this city: the influences of nearby New York and Montreal keep things cutting-edge. Live music thrives in gritty, grassroots bars and band-rooms.
Festivals & Events:
In June, rock on for North by Northeast’s 22nd birthday in this week-long extravaganza of live music, performance and film in bars and venues across the city.
Pride week also takes place in June. Toronto revels in its status as one of the world’s most gay-friendly cities, culminating in the mile-long Pride Parade.
Luminato, also in June, sees a delectable selection of the planet’s top performers across all genres descend upon Toronto for this series of public concerts. Some are outdoors; many are free.
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). It’s the jewel in the crown of Toronto’s festival calendar, and one of the biggest in the world film festival circuit.
Ossington Ave (West), Danforth Ave (East), Porter Airlines, Evergreen Brick Works community environmental centre, Royal Ontario Museum, Waupoos peach cider
Mayor Rob Ford, winter, potholes, TTC delays, downtown and highway traffic, hipsters, poutine.
Get a sense of the bigger picture atop Toronto’s beloved CN Tower, and brave the tethered but hands-and-barrier-free Edgewalk around the roof of the main observation deck (356m), if you dare. Hop on a ferry to Toronto Island for a sunny afternoon stroll and the best views of the soaring skyline then zip back to your digs, lose the civvies and dress to impress. Kick off your fabulous evening with an al fresco cocktail at the Terrace at Stock, on the 31st floor of the Trump hotel. For dinner, stroll west on King to Lee Lounge, an Asian-fusion taste explosion, best shared. Once your taste buds have thanked you, the bars and clubs of the Entertainment district (at your feet) and Queen West (a few blocks north) await. Will you dance or rock the night away.
Above Queen and Dundas TTC stations, the giant Eaton Centre mall houses over 230 big-branded retailers. A few blocks north, the ‘Mink Mile’ west of Yonge St, on Bloor St, is where you’ll find Gucci, Prada, Chanel and the folks who can afford them. Funky young things should head immediately to the Queen West and Kensington Market ‘hoods for a mother lode of old-school and new boutiques and a massive selection of vintage threads and dreads.
Classic place today:
Tucked away off Bloor St in downtown’s most desirable locale, the Windsor Arms is a 1927 neo-Gothic mansion preferred by visiting glitterati who favour privacy and personal attention over the need to be seen. Luxurious oversized suites are classically styled with modern conveniences – each has a separate bath and shower and every room features a musical instrument: many have been strummed, plucked or tinkled by the Greats.